Class of 2020 Foundations Awards Celebrate Tracy, Teaching & Academics

January 26, 2018 by Jennifer Nachbur

Outgoing Foundations Director Paula Tracy, Ph.D., center, receives a framed photograph from members of the Larner College of Medicine Class of 2020 at the Foundationa Awards Celebration on Jan. 25. (Photo: Andy Duback)

Medical students in the Class of 2020 basked in the bright light of recognition and appreciation in the midst of an exam-filled week at the Foundations Awards Celebration event on January 25, 2018. The milestone event took place in the Larner College of Medicine’s Hoehl Gallery and in addition to faculty and staff recognition and departmental awards to students, also celebrated the contributions of outgoing Foundations Director Paula Tracy, Ph.D.

Tracy opened the event with a surprise challenge – a five-question quiz for Class of ’20 students that will earn the winner $100. Then Christa Zehle, M.D., associate dean for students, and Class of 2020 Student Council member Nik Moring presented remarks.

“As we move from the classroom to the clinic, I hope we are able to keep in mind the people here today who have so selflessly and relentlessly supported our education,” said Moring.

Medical students in the Class of 2020 had just completed an exam for Convergence – the final course in the Vermont Integrated Curriculum’s Foundations level – and took a National Board of Medical Examiners practice exam January 26 in preparation for their U.S. Medical Licensing Examination Step 1 exam next month.

The following awards and recipients were presented by Moring and other Student Council members, including Ava Bakhtyari, William Earle, Gesca Borchardt and Elizabeth McLeod:


Outstanding Foundations Course Award:
Cardiovascular, Renal and Respiratory Systems (CRR) (Laurie Leclair, M.D., Course Director)

Foundations Course Director Award: Rebecca Wilcox, M.D., Course Director, Nutrition, Metabolism and Gastrointestinal System (NMGI), and Associate Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Foundations Teaching Award: Ellen Black, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neurological Sciences. The recipient of this award will be hooding the Class of 2017 at their graduation and will be recognized with other Teachers of the Year from the past.

The Dean Warshaw Integration Award: Laurie Leclair, M.D., Course Director, CRR, and Professor of Medicine. This award recognizes the faculty member whose teaching best captured the spirit of the VIC.

Above and Beyond Award: Ellen Black, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neurological Sciences. This award recognizes the faculty member who went above and beyond the call of duty to help the students in their learning objectives.

The Silver Stethoscope Award: Scott Anderson, M.D., Associate Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. This award recognizes the faculty member who had few lecture hours, but made a substantial contribution to students’ education.

AMWA Gender Equity Award: Pamela Gibson, M.D., Associate Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. This award honors a male or female faculty member who promotes a gender-fair environment for the education and training of physicians and gender diversity in the field.

Standardized Patient Award: Deb Lyons

Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award: Danielle Leahy, M.D.’17

Best Support Staff (Non-teaching) Award: Timothy Moynihan, Curriculum Specialist, Foundations Level. This award recognizes the staff member who best supported students in areas besides teaching.

Additional awards were presented to members of the Class of 2020, including:

CVRI Summer Research Fellowship Merit Award – presented by Ira Bernstein, M.D., chair of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences to Allison Reeder ‘20

LCOM Summer Research Fellowship Merit Awards – presented by Renee Stapleton, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine to Scott Mitchell ’20, Kirsten Martin ’20 and Lauren Donnelly ‘20

Wellness Award – presented by Class of 2020 Wellness Committee members Alexa Arvidson, Florence Lambert-Fliszar, Elizabeth McLeod, and Caleb Knight to Conner Soderquist ‘20

Durwood Smith Award for Excellence in Pharmacology – presented by George Wellman, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology, to Eli Goldberg ‘20

Ephraim Woll Award for Excellence in General Pathology – presented by Dr. Wilcox to Nathan Benner ‘20

Exemplary Clinical Exam Skills Award – presented by Shirley McAdam and Bob Bolyard to Amanda Kardys ’20, Florence Lambert-Fliszar ’20, Hannah Mathers ’20, Arjun Patel ’20 and Danielle Smith ‘20

B. Albert Ring, MD, Memorial Grant Award for best exemplifying compassion, humor, humility, and devotion to family and friends, and intellectual curiosity – presented by Dr. Tracy to Ethan Witt ’20 and Florence Lambert-Fliszar ‘20

Helen and Phyllis Wasserman Phorplus Prize for excellence in the Basic Sciences – presented by Dr. Tracy to Nathan Benner ’20, Eli Goldberg ’20, Patricia Wang ’20 and Florence Lambert-Fliszar ‘20

Following the awards ceremony, Associate Dean for Clinical Education Tania Bertsch, M.D., welcomed members of the Class of 2020 to the next phase of their medical education – Clerkship – and provided guidance for making the most of the experience. Class of 2019 Student Council President-Elect Hyunsoo No congratulated the class on their completion of Foundations and presented “Clerkship Survival Kit” bags to assist the soon-to-be Clerkship students during their clinical training.

The event closed with a special recognition of Dr. Tracy, who is stepping down after serving for six years as director of Foundations, and presentation of a framed photo collage signed by students and a Larner College of Medicine Patagonia vest.

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Voices of the College

"I think that the type of exam room-based interactions most likely to foster and support a patient’s good health and well-being will be characterized by trust, encouragement, and rapport."

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